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JobKeeper new Employer Rights

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

So we've all read up on JobKeeper Support Package now and understand the payment side of things. But did you know what the legislation means to some other Employer Rights?

This only applies if your business is eligible for JobKeeper (ie/ 30% or more decrease and meets the other criteria set) and is only for the 6 month period from 30th March 2020 - 27th September 2020.

So let me brief you:

  • You need to advise your employees when you register / are eligable for JobKeeper, pop this in writing to them too.

  • You can direct an employee to reduce hours (even down to zero) assuming there is valid reason.   Previously for some of you we have issued letters and now the wording to be used in those letters is "JobKeeper enabling stand down direction"

  • You can direct them to work at a different location, again this must be reasonable and not additional travel etc - this will most likely be their home. The location must be safe. We remind you of your safety obligations as their homes now become an extension of your workplace.

  • You can request them to work on different days / times, again this must be reasonable. We are encouraging employers to discuss this with their staff to ensure that they can complete their duties with any additional home / caring requirements they may have.

  • You can direct employees to undertake alternate duties. You must meet some criteria though, they must have the skillset/competency/licences etc to do them. And that the duties are in a reasonable scope of the business operations. ie/ they can't come and clean your home (unless you run a cleaning business of course). Also note if the alternate duties are a higher duty they should be paid accordingly.

  • You cannot reduce their pay. During a JobKeeper enabling stand down period or alternative duties arrangement, you will need to meet their normal hourly rate of pay. So if they are doing a lower duty, they need to be paid their normal hourly rate.

  • You can request an employee to take a period of Annual Leave as long as their leave balance will have 2 weeks remaining. You can also agree for the employee to take twice as much paid annual leave at half the pay.

  • The Fair Work Commission will hear any disputes around these directions like they do with an unfair dismissal or general protections dispute.

The other key things to remember when putting in place one of these JobKeeper enabling directions are:

  • You must consult with the Employee about the change

  • They must be given 3 days notice before the direction takes effect

  • The direction must be placed in writing

  • It can't reduce their hourly rate of pay

  • It must be reasonable ie/ have operational reasons for the change

  • They can't be made after the 27th September.

Think that covers it for now.... any questions please reach out.

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